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Pac Health Dialog. 2005 Sep;12(2):53-9.

Laboratory-based Salmonella surveillance in Fiji, 2004-2005.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Although foodborne diseases are an important public health problem worldwide, the burden of foodborne illness is not well described in most Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Laboratory-based surveillance programs can detect trends and outbreaks, estimate burden of illness, and allow subtyping of enteric pathogens (e.g. Salmonella serotyping), which is critical for linking illness to food vehicles and animal reservoirs. To enhance public health capacity in Fiji for foodborne disease surveillance, we developed the Salmonella Surveillance Project (SSP), a collaboration to pilot laboratory-based surveillance for Salmonella. A network of national and international partners was formed including epidemiologists, microbiologists, and environmental health personnel. Ministry of Health personnel were trained in foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigation. Three clinical microbiology laboratories from different parts of the country functioned as sentinel sites, reporting all laboratory-confirmed Salmonella infections using a standardized case report form. Non-Typhi Salmonella isolates were collected for serotyping. In 2004-2005, 86 non-Typhi Salmonella and 275 S. Typhi laboratory-confirmed infections were reported. Salmonella enterica serotype I 3,10: r:- and Salmonella enterica serotype Weltevreden were the most commonly isolated non-Typhi serotypes. In Fiji, the SSP utilized international partnerships to facilitate training, and to enhance laboratory capacity and surveillance for salmonellosis. Incorporating laboratory-based foodborne disease reporting into national disease surveillance will enable public health officials to describe the burden of foodborne illness, identify outbreaks, conduct analytic epidemiology studies, and improve food safety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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